From Small House To Spacious Family Home: A Hertfordshire Extension

Find out how the Andrea family transformed a small abode into a spacious family home.

When Suzanne Andrea purchased her two up, two down semi-detached property in picturesque Knebworth, Hertfordshire nine years ago, it was more than enough space to live comfortably on her own.

Nine years on, Suzanne is married with two children, and like many homeowners, she needed the home to grow with her family.

“I used to live in this property myself, but when we got married, my husband Av moved in. Today, we also have two children and we’ve outgrown the original space.  We were beginning to feel too cramped.  With a serious lack of storage, it felt like the house was really cluttered, with little space to enjoy together as a family,” said Suzanne.

Not only did the Andrea family feel short of living space, they also needed their home to function as an office too with Suzanne, an accountant and Av, her electrician husband, both running their businesses from home. The garage at the back of the house served as Suzanne’s office, while Av worked from the family room, which was also the hub of the house. A truly multifunctional space, this is where most activity took place from family meals to playtime, to rest time and socialising. Every time the family ate a meal, the dinner table and chairs had to be set up and then taken down and stored away afterwards.

The outside of the Knebworth home

With the purchase of a new, larger property too costly, the family decided to renovate by knocking down the garage in the garden and building an extension to the side and the back to create a big, open plan kitchen and dining room, utility room and separate office for Suzanne and Av to share. The extension also allowed the family to create one further bedroom upstairs so that both children could have their own room.  In addition, they added and a further bathroom, enabling Suzanne and Av to have their own en suite.

One of the main challenges occurred part of the way through the build when it was discovered that the foundations might not be strong enough to support the new extension. The Andrea family had to enlist a structural engineer to come and assess the situation. For days, they waited for the report findings, not knowing whether or not works could resume, but luckily the foundations turned out to be safe and the project continued.

The building works took a total of five months and completely transformed the property, doubling the size of the Andrea family home.

One of the biggest differences the renovation made was in changing the small, dark kitchen into an airy, open plan kitchen and dining space, which is now the heart of the home. The days of unpacking and repacking the table and chairs are a distant memory - the family now enjoys a dedicated space for eating their meals together.

Three VELUX Roof Windows were installed into the kitchen and dining room extension, flooding the entire space with natural light. The double doors, which open onto the garden, also brighten the room with daylight, bringing the outdoors in and allowing them to make the most of the views into their garden.


Suzanne explained, “We always knew that we wanted a series of VELUX windows in our family living space. The products have a great reputation and we needed a solution to open the room up and bring in more light. Having the VELUX windows really brightens the entire space and means that it benefits from the natural ventilation as well. I find that we spend a lot of time in this room, as we love the feeling of being surrounded by so much natural light, especially in summer when the days are longer.”

Upstairs, Suzanne and Av had a VELUX Sun Tunnel installed in the landing to bring natural light into the enclosed space. Suzanne explains, “The sun tunnel has made a massive difference – it’s like a completely different landing. It’s really refreshing to walk upstairs and be hit by a deluge of light.”

Although the experience of managing the project build had its challenges, the overall results have changed their lives.

Suzanne added, “Having all of this space and light has made family life so much easier and more enjoyable. Looking around, I cannot believe that it’s the same house – it looks and feels like a different home all together. We couldn’t be happier.”

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